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Weddings during Force Majeure Period

by Dimitra Grigorea, Event Management Lecturer | AMC College Greece & Event Planner | DeplanV

One of the industries been suffering the last few months because of the effects of pandemic, is the events industry and more especially the social event industry (weddings and baptisms).

Top Greek Events Destinations

Many people might not be aware of the relationship between these events to tourism. At least 50% of them are destination events and customers are coming from abroad to our country with a group of guests in order to combine their holidays with this imporant celebration. In fact, many of them have bonding with Greece since their parents ot grandparents original birth country was Greece or others grew up in Greece and moved abroad for studies or business reasons.

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They usually prefer popular Greek islands with direct flights from their country like Santorini or Mykonos, while others choose destinations sunch as Kefalonia, Rhodes or Halkidiki due to the all – inclusive hotels that allow them buy a holiday package in a good price in advance. Others prefer the charm of Athens, since this city offers reasonable prices, worldwide known archeological sites like the Acropolis, seaside resorts on the south side of Attica and new modern famous international brand hotel facilities like The Four Seasons.

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Categories of Events Professionals

There are so many professionals involved in this industry. In random order: event venues (from hotels to just event spaces and beach bars), catering companies, bar caterers, event planners, sound and lighting companies, djs, hair and make up artists. There are also flower shops and florists, decorators, graphic designers, photographer and videographers, rental companies for furniture and cutlery. Not to forget shops for wedding favors and christening sets, bridal dress designers, various concierge suppliers such as luxury cars and cruise or sailing boats. We might estimate that at least 30,000 professionals are directly or indirectly employed in Greece in this industry – especially during summer season. These exact professionals now have to adapt their services to an unknown condition that affects their clients and places of work putting all in a risk of extinction.

Events & COVID-19

This problem does not affect to the same extenxt social events whose clients and guests are based in Greece. Although this group has also been affected by the new era, it can still hope that the celebration will finally take place in one or another way. Of course weddings of 1000 people – common tradition in a few locations like Crete – remain prohibitive. However, since couple and guests are Greece based means that there is no additional stress related to international air travel, passports or travel visas. Travelling abroad immediately shifts the responsibility of a possible disease case to the host country, and this is the main reason of stress for most governments.

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Until now the most popular solution for the clients is to postpone for 2021 season, but there are some who have not cancelled or postpone yet. They are waiting for the new official regulations, which will be announced within the next month. Most probably a few events scheduled for after mid August will finally take place even with less guests. The fact that there are no clear instructions yet on how to set up guests’ tables, the dance floor or the bar, if buffet will be an option or it will permanently or temporarily disappear, is the reason why everything seems unstable. Whatever guidance we give to clients is drawn by conclusions made after combining the regulations announced by the church and restaurant industry. However, the delay of announcing the official guidance makes our clients stressed despite the fact that they are willing to follow whatever order comes out and will secure the health and safety of their loved ones.

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New reality?

And in the midst of this chaos the wedding industry professionals try to survive. These people had been totally confused, when this officially started around early March 2020, but they quickly managed to get back in track and give priority to safety. They presented a motto, which spread worldwide really fast “Postpone Do Not Cancel”. They also gave flexible options to their customers regarding in advance payments or rescheduling their events to new dates. However, this whole unexpected situation will for sure affect their financial structure and business reliability even if either a company with many employees or individual work are the cases. All sides agree that social events are celebrations full of happiness. As a result, their goal of joy cannot be achieved if anxiety is fully present or if some people get sick and spread the virus because of them.

Micro weddings (weddings with a total of less than 50 guests), weddings with most guests attending via live streaming or even weddings via online virtual spaces (i.e. zoom) seem to be the new inconceivable reality. This new reality might be difficult to urge emotions, but it gives customers the opportunity to continue their life in a kind of normality, in which their marriage or their child baptism are still be a part of a “wider” day of joy.

Life goes on – everything else will probably be a matter of personal adaptability skills.

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